Holiday In Cambodia

Album: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980)
  • So you've been to school
    For a year or two
    And you know you've seen it all
    In Daddy's car
    Thinking you'll go far
    Back east your type don't crawl

    Playing ethnicky jazz
    To parade your snazz
    On your five grand stereo
    Braggin' that you know
    How the niggers feel cold
    And the slum's got so much soul

    It's time to taste what you most fear
    Right Guard will not help you here
    Brace yourself, my dear
    Brace yourself, my dear

    For a Holiday in Cambodia
    It's tough, kid, but it's life
    It's a Holiday in Cambodia
    Don't forget to pack a wife

    You're a star-belly sneech
    You suck like a leech
    You want everyone to act like you
    Kiss ass while you bitch
    So you can get rich
    While your boss gets richer off you

    Well, you'll work harder
    With a gun in your back
    For a bowl of rice a day
    Slave for soldiers
    'Til you starve
    Then your head is skewered on a stake

    Now you can go, where the people are one
    Now you can go where they get things done
    What you need, my son
    What you need, my son

    Is a Holiday in Cambodia
    Where people are dressed in black
    A Holiday in Cambodia
    Where you'll kiss ass or crack

    (Chanting)
    Pol Pot, Pol Pot, Pol Pot, Pol Pot, etc

    It's a Holiday in Cambodia
    Where you'll do what you're told
    It's a Holiday in Cambodia
    Where the slums got so much soul
    Pol Pot Writer/s: BRUCE SLESINGER, JELLO BIAFRA, KLAUS FLOURIDE, EAST BAY RAY
    Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 19

  • In Response To Melody From Austin Tv from United StatesMelody, I don't mean to sound rude, please forgive me. From what you wrote, a very specific picture emerges. You appear to be that white American college kid, who "been to school for a year or two" who "knows you've seen it all". Leftist college professor Noam Chomsky was silent about the Cambodian genocide. He was an apologist of the communist maniac Pol Pot, who's one of the worse criminals of this century. Chomsky and his friends had tried to convince the American people and international observers that Cambodian refugees' accounts of the genocide of the Cambodian people at the hands of the communists were unreliable. Know this. There were hundreds if not thousands of first hand accounts coming out of Cambodia talking about a mass campaign of violence and repression against everyone in Cambodia who wasn't loyal to Pol Pot. Chomsky and his leftist college-radical clique refused to believe these people. Whatever the reasons for Chomsky's behavior was in the 1970s, he was not the good guy here. When it came down to an actual genocide perpetrated by a politician that Chomsky was sympathetic to - Chomsky failed to pass the test of impartial moral judgment. He remained loyal to his biased agenda. He betrayed human rights. He betrayed his own message. FYI. The Cambodia genocide was one of the most serious genocides in the post Holocaust period. FYI. No small matter. 25% of Cambodia's population was murdered, starved to death or worked to death by the communists.
  • Melody from Austin, TexasIn response to Adam from Calgary:
    His further assertion that Noam Chomsky attributed the deaths of the Pol Pot era to ''nothing but'' a war-induced famine is an outright lie. Mr. Chomsky (and the present writer, who was co-author with Mr. Chomsky of his published works on Cambodia) went to great pains to stress that there was no doubt that the Khmer Rouge was committing serious crimes, although we took no position on their scale (which was very uncertain at the time). We focused mainly and openly on the uses to which the West was putting the Khmer Rouge terror, the removal of history and context, the serious distortions of evidence and the selectivity of attention. These were perfectly legitimate subjects in themselves, justified even more by the fact that the West wasn't even proposing doing anything useful for the victims, and by the sequel in which the ousted Pol Pot was quietly rehabilitated as a Western ''freedom fighter.'' But in the West, to focus on the distortions and hypocrisies of a propaganda campaign is to become an ''apologist'' for the villains of that campaign. Mr. Nordland's review, which rests on one of the myths of the Pol Pot era as well as a now institutionalized lie about our own work on the subject, shows that our effort was and remains on target.
  • Logan from Washington DcJello has also gone on to say its also about how the government isn't focusing on the real issues (such as Pol Pot's dictatorship) and instead focusing on things that weren't problems to begin with.
  • Travis from Victoria, BcBiafra was a country that existed in Africa from 1967 to 1970. In its brief reign, close to a million people died from famine. "Biafra Babies" is a term for those stick-thin children with bloated bellies suffering from starvation and malnutrition. "Jello Biafra" is cruel irony in that it juxtaposes the popular slogan "There's always room for Jello" with children who are starving to death.
  • Adam from Yarmouth, MeThis is one of the best punks songs ever, but I think that the best is debatably Anarchy in the U.K by The Sex Pistols. But that is just my opinion.
  • Aaron from Seattle, WaGreatest Punk song ever.
  • John from Macclesfield, United KingdomThe best lyric in holiday in cambodia, or any other song for that matter ever, has to be "right guard will not help you here". dead kennedys were and still are one of the best punk bands ever.
  • Ziggy from Redding, CaI love this song, but i never knew what it was about until now, and even now that ive read it, its kind of confusing!
  • Rob from Eugene, Or"The US government supported Pot because he was opposed to both the Viet Cong and Soviet communism."

    Not to be picking nits here, but the US supported the Lon Nol government which was in power for a little while before Pol Pot. Lon Nol was anti-communist, ut was also a horrible leader who mismanaged things terribly. When Pol Pot took over he escaped with a ton of US dollars and retired in a nice suburb in Hawaii somewhere. Pol Pot wasn't "anti Viet Cong" or "anti Soviet Communism" per se, rather he wanted all foreigners out of Cambodia, and for cambodia to return to its former greatness as the Angkar kingdom, hence setting back the clocks to "The Year Zero." Pol Pot, whose real name was Saloth Sar, was quite friendly with the Viet Cong early on during the formation of the Khmer Rouge and the civil war, but he had some ideological disagreement with them at some point, and when he took power, they were foriegners anyway, and so would have been expelled from the country or killed. The agricultural reform thing is right though. Pot wanted to destroy everything "modern" and return to the agrarian economy of the Angkar kingdom. Brief history lesson there, I knew majoring in history wouldn't be totally worthless.
  • Elisabeth from Toronto, CanadaWhat on earth is that second songfact supposed to mean? "Pol Pot melted people which is called a biafra, so when they came out they looked like jello"? Alec from Sewell, NJ is right, Jello Biafra is meant to contrast American wealth and waste with starvation in third world countries.
  • Adam from Calgary, CanadaA very poignant message in the reference to Pol Pot, one that also proves how pointless music is for political discourse. So many fans of Jello Biafra--who buy his spoken-word discs--are into Noam Chomsky & worship him as a god. However, Noam once wrote that the Khmer Rouge atrocities were made up by the CIA, something he's never aknowleged, or apologized for.
    ACS
  • Jay from Geneva, Cheezland"Pol Pot melted people which is called a biafra" - well that is a claim that really needs to be backed up. Pol pot did loads of things, maybe "melt" people ( I wonder how that is done), but I am pretty sure (as othe rpeople here, that the referrence is about the secessionist state of southerne Nigeria.
  • Jello from Sarnia, CanadaThis is a really good song by one of the best punk bands ever...
  • J from Nyc, NyThe best line in this song is, "it's a holiday in Cambodia, don't forget to pack a wife."
  • Pete from Joliet, IlIt was the civil war in Nigeria. I recall him stating in an interveiw that his name came from the Biafra war. I assume that the name "Jello" comes from the zero nutritional value in Jello which is ironic next to the name "Biafra", tagging a war partially resulting in starvation.
  • Alec from Sewell, NjNo the actual truth is that Jello Biafra got his name from the food product Jello and the short-lived starving country Biafra from Nigeria. It's meant to be ironic since Jello has no nutritional value. Anyway, I always thought they were contrasting the dumb ignorance of American college kids with the conditions in Cambodia. Pol Pot's regime was largely about agricultural reform. He abolished technology and forced Cambodians to work in the fields. This was the main cause of the deaths of about 2 million people. The US government supported Pot because he was opposed to both the Viet Cong and Soviet communism.
  • Zachary from Charlotte, NcAnother DK song that is easily one of the best punk rock songs of all time, it makes its points and above all else sounds good
  • Justin from Arleta, CaI heard that Biafra was a short lived country, and that Jello, was chosen due to it's non-nutritional value, not because pol-pot melted people. But hen again prove me wrong.
  • Frank from Mars, MeEither that, or the civil war in Nigeria. Duh!!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Michael W. SmithSongwriter Interviews

Smith breaks down some of his worship tracks as well as his mainstream hits, including "I Will Be Here For You" and "A Place In This World."

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.